TAXI operators who oppose the P10 reduction in the flagdown rate cannot claim losses because they get a fixed rental from drivers, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said yesterday.
They also cannot argue that rising gasoline prices cancel the need to lower the flagdown rate from P40 to P30, because majority of the taxis in Cebu run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), an official said.
On the third day of the new rate, LTFRB Board Member Antonio Enrile Inton Jr. pointed out that 95 percent of the 5,631 taxis running in Cebu use LPG, which costs around P27 per liter, much cheaper than gasoline.
Inton said that some operators run LPG stations on the side and require all their drivers to refill only in these stations.
The Philippine Integrated National Taxi Operators’ Association (Pintoa) has filed a petition before LTFRB in Manila to stop the lower flagdown rate. It is supported by the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators’ Association (MCTOA) and the Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative (Citrasco).
MCTOA and Citrasco have instructed their drivers not to grant the P10 cut unless passengers ask for it, but LTFRB 7 Acting Director Rey Elnar has ordered his personnel to intercept all drivers who ignore the order.
Elnar said that lawyer Edwin Antepuesto, the LTFRB 7 hearing officer, will investigate taxi driver Joel Ramos and SD taxi operator Sinforiano Doncillo. Ramos allegedly threatened his passengers, Dave Horca and his wife, with a knife after tossing two P5 coins at them when they asked for the discount last Tuesday.
Horca said that after Ramos drove them from Escario St. to the IT Park in Lahug, Cebu City, he insisted on collecting the P78 reflected on the meter, instead of only P68.
When the Horca couple asked for the discount, Ramos took two P5 coins and threw these at them. He then allegedly pulled out a knife and pointed it at the couple, who quickly got out and ran to a building that had a security guard.
But in an interview with dyLA radio, Ramos denied the accusation against him.
He said he just told his passengers that if they have any complaint, they should file it with the LTFRB. He said he only got out from his car after he saw the couple taking pictures of his vehicle.
Elnar of LTFRB said that if found guilty, Ramos and Doncillo will be fined P5,000 each, under Joint Administrative Order 2014-001.
Elnar added that the LTFRB 7 will give Director Arnel Tancinco of the Land Transportation Office 7 a copy of the records, in case he finds basis to suspend the taxi driver’s license.